This week lawmakers finalized and approved the Oregon Health Authority budget for 2011-2013. All reports are that we are in the final days of the legislative session.
As has been clear for some time, this budget brings some difficult reductions. With increased demand for services and the loss of nearly $1 billion in federal stimulus funds, the Oregon Health Authority budget will be 39 percent less than what is needed to maintain current services. Nearly every person who receives or provides services funded through the Oregon Health Authority budget will be affected by the reductions. The reductions will be particularly difficult for the providers of the Oregon Health Plan, who are on the front lines every day caring for our most vulnerable citizens. We have been working closely with them to help with implementation of the reductions, and will continue to do so over the coming months.
Additionally, in all divisions, most budget reductions made in 2009-2011 will continue through 2011-2013. In addition, $44.3 million, or 19 percent of the OHA state General Fund administrative budget will be cut. We will continue to increase efficiencies through lean management techniques, reduction of unnecessary processes, and continually improving services. The OHA website has more information about the budget here.
These budget reductions are another example of how we all pay the price for the high cost of health care. Patients, businesses, the state and our providers are carrying a heavy burden.
Frankly, it cannot go on this way. That is why the movement toward more coordinated care in our state is so important. I am confident we can bring both better health and lowered costs through improved care.
In the meantime, we will have to get through these difficult times together. I appreciate how all OHA employees – both long-time and brand new – continue to bring such a high level of service to our work. Thank you for all you do.